Did you know that there are many celebrities who have suffered or still suffer from Social Anxiety Disorder? It seems counter-intuitive to be living such a public life and to feel anxiety in public, but it’s true. Some of them have coped by avoiding the spotlight whenever possible while others have used therapy to help them overcome their fears. For other celebrities with social anxiety, the stage or camera becomes a sort of therapy. We’ve compiled a quick list of some of the more famous examples below.
Donny Osmond: probably the one you most expected to see on this list, Donny Osmond has suffered from social anxiety since he was 11. The pressure of perfection for the child performer resulted in panic attacks as he grew older. He was finally diagnosed with social anxiety disorder and has used exercise, among other things, to get it under control. “You would think that all the success, and all the reviews, and all this acceptance of me now as a legitimate theatrical entertainer would fix it. It compounded it.” (Donny Osmond: Headliners & Legends)
Kim Basinger: Basinger has openly discussedher struggles with anxiety in an HBO documentary, Panic: A Film About Coping. Her anxiety dates back to her childhood and has followed her through her successful career as a model and actress. She eventually found relief through therapy.
Barbra Streisand: In 1967 Barbra Streisand forgot the words to one of her songs during a concert. The fear of repeating that incident was enough to keep her from performing live for almost thirty years. She finally sang live over New Years in Las Vegas in 1994. She now uses a teleprompter to mitigate the stress of singing live.
Laurence Olivier: Olivier represents the rare people who get social anxiety later in life. He was struck by stage fright at the height of his very successful acting career, while playing in Othello at the London National Theatre in 1964. He eventually requested that fellow actors not look him in the eye so that he wouldn’t forget his lines. He coped with it for ten years by using thick make up and adopting various foreign accents. (Stephen Fry and Charlie Rose on Laurence Olivier)
Jennifer Lawrence: Jennifer Lawrence suffered from social anxiety as a child and it was the stage that helped her to overcome it. She hated the social aspect of school with recess, parties, and field trips, but the stage was a world where she felt comfortable and in her element and it helped relight the spark that school interactions had snuffed out.